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The case for the use of technology in football

Betfair blogger Gareth
Freeman
once again champions the cause for technology in football.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote
an article for Football FanCast in the wake of Eduardo's diving incident.
My point in that particular article was that if the footballing world had
accepted the use of video replays and goal line technology that whole, frankly
ridiculous and pointless, mess could have been avoided.

The argument against
implementing technology in the decision making process in football is largely
based on the fact that detractors feel it would add unnecessary time onto games
and would not necessarily result in the correct decision anyway. To be
honest I see neither of these particular obstacles as massive problems.
How much time is wasted when players argue with referees over decisions?
Personally I can't see a video decision taking much longer than that if it was
called upon. Granted, there will be the odd occasion when a replay would prove
inconclusive but I expect the number of times it would be successful to
outweigh the rare occasion when the result of a replay decision was questioned
after the game.

For me the basic fact of the
matter is that teams can be robbed of much more than just a victory if a
ludicrous decision is called against them. Way back in 1997/98 my beloved
Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League on goal
difference. The team that survived one place above the Wanderers were
Everton, but the story does not end there. Bolton's first ever game at the
Reebok Stadium way back in September 1997 was against Everton and it ended
0-0. However, Gerry Taggart should have been awarded a goal after 50
minutes when his header crossed the line only for the linesman to miss it.
At the time it seemed like hard luck, but as the season drew to a close and the
realisation that Everton might be the team that relegated us the resentment
began to grow and fester. No matter how irrational it may seem I still
blame that decision as the reason we went down that year. Granted, had we
secured the three points that day Everton may have picked up points elsewhere
and we may have gone down anyway. Had we gone ahead Everton may have
pushed on for an equaliser and the game could have ended in a draw
regardless. But that will always be in my mind, even when (if) I
reach old age and I can no longer remember what I had for breakfast that day
I'm sure I will still recall that horrible moment in the Whites history.

Back then goal line technology
was possible but here we are, over a decade later, and we're still relying on
the decision of essentially one man through the course of the game. Uefa
tried using six officials in the Europa League to combat the problem of
incorrect decisions in the penalty area and, probably, to quieten those calling
for the use of technology. As far as I could see it didn't work, though
in fairness I only watched the Everton game (I hold no malice against Everton)
but it didn't seem that effective from where I was sitting.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce
summed up Uefa's ‘experiment' better than I ever could.

He said: "They were so
inactive for such long periods of time, so what's the point?

"We all know what we want
– cameras and technology. Full stop."

As far as I'm concerned, at the
very least, goal line technology should be implemented in football. I
appreciate that in regards to penalty decisions it can sometimes be ambiguous
but it would take no time at all to determine whether or not a ball had crossed
the line. The ‘Hawk eye' system has not ruined the game of tennis, in
fact I actually think it makes the game more interesting when a player contests
a call. From my own point of view goal line technology would benefit
football in the same way.

For me the benefits of using
cameras and technology far outweigh any problems anyone has presented so
far. In an ideal world it would be used throughout the game, but
considering how slow the footballing authorities have been in even discussing
the issue I think goal line technology should be pressed we get ahead of
ourselves. If video replays were used Emmanuel Adebayor would have been
sent off against Arsenal (sorry City fans, he would) and we wouldn't have had
all the pointless nonsense that followed. Eduardo would have been booked
for diving and that would have been the end of it, rather than receiving a two
game ban that Uefa, embarrassingly for them, were forced to back down
from. Spurs would have been awarded a penalty against Chelsea yesterday
after Robbie Keane was brought down in the box…. You get the idea anyway.

I'm sure almost every football
fan has a memory of a game where they feel they were robbed by officials and
ludicrous decisions. I appreciate the views of the ‘purists' out there
who say that using technology will take some of the soul out of the game, but
if the benefit is a fairer playing field that is a risk I personally feel the
world of football should be willing to take.

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer employed by
Betfair,
who
offer horse racing betting news and tips.

Article title: The case for the use of technology in football

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